Introduction to Combinatorial Theory
Mathematics 301: Fall 2003

Professor: Rachel Pries, e-mail: pries AT; web page:; office: Weber 221.

Lecture: MWF 3:10-4:00, Engineering E205.

Course description: One of the primary goals of this course is to gain experience with combinatorial problem solving. We will use mathematical models and games to study graph theory and counting problems. These topics have multiple "real world" applications, especially in computer science, operations research, and statistics. Along the way, we will develop skills to solve unfamiliar problems with creative insight and logical reasoning.

Prerequisite: MCC160 or equivalent experience with calculus I.

Homework: Homework is the most important part of this class. Doing lots of homework problems is crucial for doing well in this class. Some homework problems will help you learn the material and demonstrate this knowledge. Other problems will involve lots of experiments and open-ended investigation. The process of doing homework will help you find your own way of solving problems for the tests. Homework is due every Friday at the beginning of class. Homework must be neat, legible, and stapled in order to receive credit. I encourage you to brainstorm the problems in groups and write up your solutions independently.
Detailed information on homework and exams
Detailed information on project

Text and supplies: Applied Combinatorics, Alan Tucker, 4th edition, published by Wiley and sons.
Some colored pencils or pens.

Examinations: There will be four in-class quizzes on the following dates: Wednesday, 9/10; Friday 10/3; Friday 10/24; and Friday 11/14.
There will be a final examination Wednesday, December 17 from 1:30-3:30 pm, whose location will be announced.
There are no makeups for missed exams, regardless of the reason for absence. You must take the final examination at this time scheduled by the university; no final exams will be given earlier. If you have two final examinations scheduled at the same time, it is the responsibility of the other department to provide an alternate exam. Examinations will not be rescheduled because of travel arrangements. It is your responsibility to schedule travel appropriately.
There will be no class on Monday 9/8.

Grading: The course grades will be computed as follows.
25% homework; 40% quizzes (10% each); 35% Final.

Help: Help is always available if you have trouble with homework or lecture material. If your classmates can't answer your question, come ask me! Office hours are 1-2 pm on Wednesday and Thursday or by appointment.